Peter DeBoer isn’t going anywhere as the Vegas Golden Knights Head Coach.
That should be an obvious statement given that he has only been in the job for five minutes, but some Vegas Golden Knights fans want changes.
You can understand why given the incredibly disappointing nature of the Golden Knights’ exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday.
They blew a two-goal lead in Game 5 to lose to the Dallas Stars in Overtime, being eliminated from the Western Conference Final in five games as a direct result.
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That wasn’t how it was meant to unfold.
This Golden Knights team are built to win right now, they are constructed to compete for multiple Stanley Cups and they had the talent to go all the way this year.
After all, that’s why the front office made the shocking decision to fire Gerard Gallant at the midway point of the 2019-20 regular season and bring in DeBoer as his replacement.
That’s why General Manager Kelly McCrimmon and President of Hockey Operations George McPhee did something at the Trade Deadline they had previously sworn to avoid, acquiring a pure rental in Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks.
They made those moves to go all in on this year.
So anything less than a Stanley Cup this season was always going to be viewed as a failure, which in itself sounds crazy when speaking about a third-year expansion team.
But the expectations are sky-high in Sin City and DeBoer didn’t meet them.
He was brought in for his ability to push just the right buttons and take his teams to the Stanley Cup Final, as he did in his first year behind the bench of both the New Jersey Devils and the San Jose Sharks.
However, while the Golden Knights were an absolute juggernaut down the stretch under DeBoer and again in the early stages of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, some fatal flaws were quickly exposed.
They came up against a red-hot goalie in Thatcher Demko in the Second Round against the Vancouver Canucks and struggled to adapt, laying a goose egg in Game 6 and scoring just four goals in the final three games of that series.
Then, with Demko still haunting their dreams, the Golden Knights had to deal with Anton Khudobin who was sensational for the Stars, pitching a shutout in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.
But a huge bugaboo was exposed in that opening game of the Western Conference Final in that the Knights were figured out by the Stars.
They couldn’t set up screens in-front of Khudobin, they couldn’t get traffic to the net and they struggled to generate both high-quality chances and rebounds.
But the fact that Vegas dominated the shot clock and most possession metrics seemingly convinced DeBoer that nothing needed to be changed.
Call it misplaced belief in his team or even arrogance, DeBoer stuck to his guns and failed to make the necessary adjustments for a must-win Game 5.
You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results, but DeBoer did and it backfired spectacularly.
The Golden Knights refused to adjust and they were made to pay in Game 5, while DeBoer was guilty of failing to make any key adjustments from behind the bench as the game went along.
That included not tweaking the power play which went 0/3 at a critical point in the game, in addition to going a woeful 3/22 in the series.
All of those costly mistakes have led to some fans to question DeBoer’s future with this franchise, although it is fair to say that his presence has been questioned from day one.
He replaced a hugely popular coach in Gallant who had won the Jack Adams Award after leading the Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year, while his perceived handling of the goalie situation with Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury sparked outrage amongst the Vegas fanbase.
But DeBoer isn’t going anywhere, no matter how many times you Tweet that you want him out of here.
He was brought in to maximise the talent of this roster and the larger sample size suggests he did just that.
And it wasn’t as if the Golden Knights were humiliated inside The Bubble, they just failed to make the necessary adjustments at the right time.
DeBoer will be given a full Training Camp with his players and it will now be on him to right the wrongs from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and ensure that they don’t commit the same mistakes as they did in Edmonton.
Fixing the power play to ensuring that there is enough balance in the lineup when it comes to offense will be two huge off-season tasks for DeBoer, as will ensuring the goalie controversy isn’t still hanging over this team heading into the 2020-21 season.
If Peter DeBoer can eradicate the flaws that reared their ugly head in the postseason, prove he can make adjustments on the fly and help this team go all the way next year, then Golden Knights fans may start to warm to him.
But, if the Vegas Golden Knights suffer a slow start whenever next season does eventually start and DeBoer makes mistakes similar to the ones we saw over the last couple of week or two, then those critics will begin to get louder and louder and will be even less forgiving.